Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Rose Go Marching On 2

Yesterday saw the second round of the OVD Scottish Junior Cup which saw mixed fortunes from the West Lothian sides. A couple of the matched did have some Lib Dem political significance to them.

In the Battle of the Lib Dem Blogs Linlithgow Rose, whose ground I have canvassed and delivered leaflet all around, carried on their defence of this trophy beating fellow Blogger Iain Dale's Irvine Meadows 4-2. I hope that if Iain got to the match at Prestonfield that he did actually enjoy it, even if the 6 goal-fest didn't go in his teams favour.

In the Linlithgow and Falkirk East vs Dunfermline and West Fife Parliamentary constituency match up, Whitburn Juniors whose ground is in the first ward I stood for beat Crossgates Primrose 3-0

Stoneyburn Juniors from where I first lived when I came to Scotland lost out 2-0 to Kelty Hearts from the home town of the Willie Rennie MP.

Other West Lothian wins were:

Bo'ness United 7 (seven) Dufftown 0
Troon 1 Bathgate Thistle 3
Harthill Royal 3 Longside 0

Before any pedants point out to me that Harthill is in Lanarkshire I'm claiming their locality as West Lothian because their Gibbshill Park is in Greenrigg and therefore just on the West Lothian side of that particular urban area.

However, for another year it is farewell to local sides Armadale Thistle, Broxburn Athletic, Livingston United and West Calder United who all lost out by a single goal.

Personally If I Were The Nats I'd Run

I doubt this is the same Labour Party that most Scottish politicos know. Apparently the latest about face from Labour is that they are now claiming that Scotland could survive independently.

Now the Nats I know who are politically active are unlikely to be taken in so lightly by this sudden U-Turn approach. However, is this another case of the many flavours of Labour which leaves them rudderless, directionless and attempting to be all things to all people and failing miserably to keep their eye on the ball. Personally I see this as a cynical attempt to claw back votes before Gordon Brown, the most famous hater turned lover of Margaret Thatcher, turns to the people for his own mandate to govern.

Why do I think that? Well for a start I think that one reason why we did not face an Autumn election as was so widely tipped all summer was because while Gordon attempts to be as English as mustard and horse radish sauce with a roast is still very much the proud Scot. With the softening of opinion towards the Nats policies if not their stance on indepedence is rife, Labour are looking to lossen up that soft vote back to themselves. You only have to look at the stances they have taken or failed to take more accurately in the last 15 years to see this shift from being a party with ideology to being a party with your and your and your ideology.

Many people may thing the grass is always greener on the other side. Only Labour seem intent on pulling enough wool over enough eyes to make people think they own all the grass.

Football Stadia Tour 2: East End Park

Carrying on my tour of the Irn Bru Scottish First Division Stadia this weekend I returned, for the first time in two seasons, to another familiar stomping ground East End Park in Dunfermline. Not only have I blogged about games attended and missed here before but I also saw the crowd from numerous angles and vantage points during the Dumfermline and East Fife by election.


East End Park in conveniently placed along the Halbeath Road to the east of the City, so cars and coaches are best coming off the M90 at junction 3 and coming straight into the city. It is only just outside the city centre and not too far a walk from the train station.

Unlike our trip across the Forth Bridge a fortnight ago yesterday there were delays in crossing as the road works have been completed. So masses of Livi fans who allowed time for the bridge again found themselves congregating out side the gates of the East Stand well before the gates opened at 2:15.

The Ground

Last time I visited EEP was in the SPL days and we were accommodated in one half of the North Stand. It was also the match that our club chairman Pearse Flynn still in a dispute with Dunfermline's Chairman John Yorkston was sat in the stands with the fans, in fact only about 2 rows behind me. However my mate who was sat beside me, missed the goal as he was sitting behind one of the posts holding up the commentary gantry. This time however all the Livi fans had uninterrupted views of the action from the East Stand.

Across from us was the Norrie McCarthie stand. To the right of this stand is the tunnel where the officials and players emerge like at Old Trafford from the corner of the pitch. The Main Stand to the south has the director's boxes enclosed just behind the dug outs.

Disabled facilities are good in the East stand there is a raised viewing platform but at turnstile level where 5 wheelchairs could have access. As each disabled ticket holders helper is given a hi-vis jacket on entering, even the visiting support.

The Atmosphere

Last time I was here for a match we were taking up half of the North stand and only divided by a barrier from some of the most vocal home support, real see into the whites of their eyes stuff. This time we were somewhat separated from any of the home support. The vocal mob from the North Stand did direct some chants in our direction. But even the fans in the main stand were quite far away and didn't make much noise for most of the match anyway.

That being said I was up near the back of the East Stand and the acoustics did seem to have an effect later on we did get both Mark Proctor and Curtis Fleming plus all the subbed players to respond directly to our chants. Having said that the atmosphere in the Livi end was buoyant for most of the game and all the later stages, whereas the most noise that the Pars fans created was at he end when they booed off Stephen Kenny and his players.

The Programme

Cost £2.50. One highlight for me was to see Willie Rennie's smiling face advertising his surgeries from the advertisement pages. It had two pages dedicated to the visitors and a random selection of players selected for profile, and surprisingly for a first visit of the season not more emphasis on some first team regulars. There was a two page interview with one of the home players, on this occasion local boy made good Steven Crawford. There was a section looking back at one of the Pars great games from the sixties. Also there was a section looking at programmes from the past which in a tribute to the visitors also mentioned the first programme between Meadowbank Thistle and Dunfermline on 25 September 1976 at Meadowbank.

Us away fans did play a quick game of Play Your Cards Right with the previous two games reports. For the record the winners went lower, higher. However, tow downsides the first page of the programme did call our manager Martin Proctor. Plus the Dunfermline players were listed by their UEFA cup squad numbers. Not only a fling back to the Pars SPL days and a slight slur on the rest of the clubs in the league, but also now never to be used again this season, except for identifying who the subs were replacing the team stats section.

Pie and Bovril

There is only a scotch pie not a steak pie at EEP, however, why quibble when almost every away fan looks forward to the steak Bridie which at £1.90 is gorgeous. Added to this the Bovril is only £1.10 and you are saving 60p on Dundee. For those not used to a bridie think a little like a beef stew stuffed into a Cornish Pastie pastry. The bridie on offer was exquisite the meat was lovely and tender, and just enough gravy to hold it all together. My bovril was lovely and warm especially as I didn't even start to drink it until 10 minutes after I bought it.


Admission £16
Programme £2.50
Pie (Bridie) and Bovril £3 (Excellent)
Total £21.50

League Table of Cost
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60

Match Report

The first half looking at the scoreline would have suggested a very even game. However, Super Mario in the Livi goal was hardly troubled and didn't have to make a save. With Dave MacKay back at right back he started running overlaps with Graham Dorrans and provide all sorts of option. Jason Kennedy surging forward from midfield and Lee Makel distributing from there were creating all sorts of havoc for the Pars defence. All that was lacking was a finish. However they kept hounding the Pars box. Steven Craig once getting to the goal line but without support for a lay back before being unceremoniously dumped off the ball for what could have been a penalty. Later on he again broke the offside trap (which was a tough act for him yesterday) and was through into the box when Bamba pushed him over the ball, but the ref failed to blow for an even clearer penalty. However, Craig finally got on the end of a Tomas Pesir cross to head home the first just before half time.

The second half couldn't have got off to a much worse start for Dunfermline when 4 minutes in when two Dunfermline defenders managed to collide in the centre of the park allowing the ball to trickle past them. Steven Craig needing no second thought pounced on it to punch away his second of the afternoon. This must have dumbstruck the official as for the next ten minutes they didn't flag him for offside, and when they did it was some time after Dunfermline had cleared a ball and it was being passed around on the half way line. Livi didn't sit back though and continued to make advances on the now largely static Pars midfield and defence. At one point managing not just a 1-2 but a 1-2-3-4-5 between two players who didn't even move. Mark Tinkler, who along with new signing Julius Raliukonis have made no error in central defence, finally put a seal on the game and possible the Dunfermline managers tenure with a great strike on 66 minutes, which would probably have not even been stoppable without the slight deflection it received. Finally on 90 minutes almost 3 months after he hit the back of the net only to have it ruled offside Jason Kennedy finally found his name on a Livi scoresheet.

Final Score Dunfermline 0 Livingston 4 (Steven Craig 44,49, Mark Tinkler 66, Jason Kennedy 90)

Effect on the relative teams' positions. Dunfermline drop from 6th to 8th one point above bottom spot . Livingston move out of the play-off 9th spot to replace Dunfermline in 6th.

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